Does learning end on the last day of the school year? It’s the end of the school year, you are ready to get out of the classroom and so are your students. But how do you keep their minds sharp during the summer months? What can you do to compete with the beach, family gatherings and all the other fun summer activities that they could be doing instead of learning?
I remember growing up that my mother, who wouldn’t admit to it, would plan our vacations and other summer time fun so that we would learn something at the same time. Whether it was a trip to the day camp at the local Museum, traveling to Washington DC and Philadelphia, going to the Aquarium while at the beach, or just something as simple as helping her plant a garden or baking cookies. She tried to keep us learning even though we did not know we were learning because we thought it was fun.
That was a long time ago, how long I won’t tell, but what do you do today? With all of the other distractions of this day and age how do you keep your Elementary School students or children learning throughout the summer?
There are camps that they can still go to, you can arrange trips to cities where they can learn about the history of the U.S. like D.C., Philadelphia maybe Beaufort, North Carolina’s first capital, or even local to Old Salem. But what happens when it rains or if it is to hot to play outside for any length of time? As much as I hate to say it there are all of those nice wonderful little gadgets around that they can play with. From the full blown gaming consoles and computers to iPad and Android tablets or even the small handheld devices like the PSP and Nintendo DS. There are educationally sound games that students can play that make them think through problems and use math concepts. I think it was interesting when a co-worker mentioned that their child started playing “Angry Birds” even though the child was having fun they were also learning, by default mind you, mathematical concepts for trajectory and angles. There are many different websites available for students to use that will allow them to continue their learning through the summer and they will think it is fun because it seems like a game to them.
Here is a sample list of sites that your students/children can go to on the web to learn during the summer or at any time during the year.
· PBS for Kids – Has educational games, videos and activities for kids
· BBC Children – Has educational games, videos and activities for kids
· Math Playground – Multiple resources for learning in Math
· Tryscience – Where you can download fun experiments to do at home with your children
· Google Art Project – Virtual tours of Museums from around the world.
· Crayola for Kids – Online coloring and drawing activities for kids
Through our school system students have access to netTrekker an online safe search engine that will automatically filter out and remove any non-educational information so that you only see search results that have merit and have been checked out to make sure they are educationally sound.
As a teacher and as a parent, possibly, you know that learning is never done. It is always happening and ever evolving throughout your life. Take some time to teach or learn something this summer so that it will make a difference in a student/child’s life to help them be life-long learners.